Publications by Dr. Smith


Should the ACT and SAT Be Eliminated?

Testprep Topics February 2020 also includes a review of The Truth About College Admissions by Brennan Barnard and Rick Clark and Ask the Expert.


The University of California and ACT/SAT Testing Policies

Testprep Topics October 2020 also includes a review of Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World by David Epstein and Ask the Expert.

Oct 2020 Newsletter

Why Do Teenagers Have to Take the SAT or ACT? 

Testprep Topics May 2021 also includes a review of Where You Go is Not Who You’ll Be by Frank Bruni and Ask the Expert.


Dr. Smith’s Magazine Articles and Book Chapters

“A Look at the New SAT/PSAT” Michael K. Smith, February 2015

Read Dr. Smith’s overview and comments about the new PSAT (starting Fall 2015) and the new SAT (first administration Spring 2016)

TestPrep_New SAT Letter_2-10-14pdf

“Why is Pythagoras Following Me?” Phi Delta Kappan, February 1989, pp. 446-459. (Reproduced with the permission of Phi Delta Kappan magazine.)

Mathematics requirements in U. S. high schools should not be increased, Mr. Smith avers. In fact, they should be decreased. For reasons why, read on.

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“Repugnant Is to Aversion … A Look at ETS and the New SAT I,” Phi Delta Kappan, June 1994, pp. 752-757. (Reproduced with the permission of Phi Delta Kappan magazine.)

It is too soon to say whether or not the new SAT is blazing a trail toward the future of assessment, Mr. Smith declares. But at the very least, taking the SAT will remain one experience about which both parents and children can commiserate.

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“The Word Problem,” from Humble Pi: The Role Mathematics Should Play in American Education. Amherst, New York: Prometheus Books, 1994. (Chapter 3, pp. 77-96)

Two trains leave at the same time but from different cities. One train is traveling west at 120 mph while the other is traveling east at 100 mph. Assuming the trains are traveling on opposite but parallel tracks, and the two cities from which they leave are 440 miles apart, how long will it take before they meet?

It seems that every time I mention the train problem, nervous laughter ensues. Practically everyone remembers the difficulties of doing word problems in high school math courses. Why are these problems so difficult and why do they evoke such bad memories? Do people have latent phobias about trains, perhaps caused by a primal archetype that even Jung overlooked? Read more…

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Reflections on Taking the New SAT

I took the new SAT at Bearden High School on Saturday, March 12, 2005. As someone who’s helped students prepare for this test for over twenty years, I felt that I needed to experience the changes to the test first-hand. I also felt that I could empathize more with the pressures my students endure if I struggled through the four-hour test myself.

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Dr. Smith’s Knoxville Parent articles

February 2014:           Why Do Teenagers Have to Take the ACT or SAT?

August 2012:              Gray Mice Think Alike

September 2012:        A Creative Change to the School Day

October 2012:             Shouldn’t Politics Be Like Math?

November 2012:         A Different Mirror, an Equal Education

December 2012:         The Gift of Discipline

January 2013:             Is Joining Facebook Logical?

February 2013:           Climbing Into Reading

March 2013:               How the Classical Guitar Changed My Life

April 2013:                 Can Our Schools Promote Healthy Minds, Bodies, and Spirits?

May 2013:                  Get MOOCed!

August 2013:              …And Speaking of Public Speaking

September 2013:        Free Speech, Creativity, and the Revolution in Videos, Books, and Apps

October 2013:             Staying After-School at Pond Gap

November 2013:         Why We Secretly Love Tests

December 2013:         The Art of Teaching

January 2014:             Deciding To Read More

March 2014:               The Educational Benefits of Summer Camps

April 2014:                  My Own Ten Rules for Healthy Living

May 2014:                  Thinking Globally at West High School

August 2014:              Minding Our Mindsets

October 2014:             The Creative Role of Reading Fiction

December 2014:         The Dream of Girls’ Education

January 2015:             Reading Books for Fun

April 2015:                  Thinking Like a Historian

June 2015:                 How Educational Are Educational Apps?

July 2015:                  Teaching Tolerance

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